At the high school level, teachers typically instruct students in one key subject area, and their bachelor's degree programs often allow them to study the area of specialization they plan to teach as well as effective instructional methods. Some subject areas they might choose to teach include English, math, chemistry or Spanish.
While teaching at the high school level, teachers can help young people adjust to lives as adults and prepare students for postsecondary education opportunities. Public school teaching positions usually require a bachelor's degree and state licensure. Some states require high school teachers to earn a master's degree.
|Required Education||Bachelor's usually required, some states require a master's|
|Other Requirements||State license for public schools|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||6% for secondary school teachers, except technical, career or special education|
|Mean Salary (2015)*||$60,440 annually for secondary school teachers, except technical, career or special education|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
High school teachers have the challenging task of educating students during young adulthood. In addition to teaching, they are responsible for supervising their students and instituting discipline when necessary. Staying abreast of new technologies that aid teaching and learning is also vital.
Most high school teachers teach a single subject, such as English or physical education, through innovative and engaging lesson plans. High school teachers in private schools often have more flexibility with curriculum design than their counterparts in public schools. Still, the curriculum for most teachers share some common elements, such as lessons that include discussion and lecture as well as group and individual activities. High school teachers are also responsible for preparing materials for lesson delivery, grading tests and providing progress reports. They must also incorporate various learning styles into their teaching methodologies to accommodate a wide variety of students.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), secondary school teachers earned a mean annual salary of $60,440 in 2015. High school teachers in the top 10% of income levels made $91,190 or more per year, while those in the lowest 10% of earnings made $37,800 or less, per annum. The state in which teachers are employed matters to their income as well. For example, New York high school teachers earned a mean annual income of $79,720, whereas, in Mississippi, that income level was just $43,100 per year on average.
Job Growth Information
From 2014-2024, the BLS predicts a job growth of 6% for high school teachers, which is as fast as average when compared to all occupations. Teachers who specialize in subjects such as chemistry, physics, math or bilingual education are likely to see the best opportunities.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
Bachelor of Science in Education
A Bachelor of Science in Education or similar degree programs provide students with an opportunity to gain the necessary knowledge and training needed to become a high school teacher. These are 4-year degree programs available through universities and secondary learning institutions. Students receive education in core sciences, English, mathematics, social studies and the arts. They also receive instruction on how to lead a classroom and may choose to focus their studies on a specific curriculum, such as creative writing in English. Common courses cover topics like classroom assessment, foundations of learning and student diversity.
Master of Science in Teacher Education
A Master of Science in Teacher Education or related education degree programs also provide students with an option to enter the profession. Students can complete these programs in two years. These programs may be divided into classroom learning for a year followed by an internship or residency for another year. Students can focus on any number of areas of teaching or education. Common courses include teaching methods, classroom management and core subject practicum.
Certification and Licensing Information
All states require their teachers to be licensed in order to teach in public schools. Some private schools are exempt from this practice and may set their own standards for their teachers. Teachers must have at least a bachelor's degree education, and some schools require that their teachers earn a master's degree within a specified time period. Teachers may also obtain voluntary professional certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. All states recognize this professional certification, and teachers may be rewarded with special benefits or increased income.
High school teachers are specifically trained to work with students in grades 9-12. They must have a bachelor's degree and their teaching license; some states may require applicants to eventually earn a master's degree in their area of specialization as well. Those who opt to teach at a private school may not be required to have a teaching license.